From the Window

2 minute read

Elvis has left the building.

That’s what they say every time the ambulance shows up without lights and sirens. Of course, no one but Larry and me know who the King even was let alone get the joke.

Kids these days. Except, it’s them that takes care of us. I’ll be honest with you: when one of them jerkwads gets the duty of cleaning my sorry arse, it makes me smile. It’s worth squirreling away an extra bran muffin or two. With raisins.

Okay, I don’t get out much.

I grip the arms of my walker like it’s my last dollar and pull myself off the bed. One of the rubber feet is missing and the grating of metal against the linoleum hurts my jaw, but I manage to gain my window perch.

The ambulance parked out front is empty–Fatty One and Fatty Two are no doubt inside already, chatting up young Cathy at the front desk. No hurry. He’ll keep. It’s only March.

Larry and I often took bets whether an Elvis or a Priscilla bit the biscuit. The stakes started with Jello, but we upped them to Solpadol tabs when the season’s death rush hit. It’s morbid, but what else do you do when you’re bored? Play checkers? Screw that. It was a long winter and we’d made out like bandits. We split our haul last week over a feed of apple crisp. The way we figured it, we’d could lace our fellow inmates’ oatmeal and pick our next winner. That bitch Mavis would be a great move. Today is a wild card gamble.

Damn apples. I had the trots all week but managed to make it to the commode every time. Well, except Tuesday. Caught myself short, sneaking out a fart. Larry would never let me live it down once he found out. We planned to swap women’s magazines later today. Hey, a man’s gotta find inspiration wherever he can find it.

The two Fatties, Sweaty and Puffy, emerge from the front door. The stretcher creaks as they rolled it down the ramp. I crane my neck to get a peek at this week’s show and wince as the familiar hot pinpricks radiate from the back of my head across my shoulders.

My hands fumble through the desk drawer under the window. I don’t want to take my eyes away from the scene outside, but I need my meds. What’s the point of scoring painkillers if you can’t pop one as needed? I keep coming up empty. My head pounds.

Light-fingers-Larry, you sly old coot! Did you sneak off with my stash? I wonder how Mavis is feeling.

Sweaty opens the back of of the bus with one hand and holds it with his meaty shoulder, as he lifts the front of the stretcher inside. Puffy shoves forward hard and the whole kit-and-kadoodle flips and dumps its cargo on the asphalt in a tumble of limbs. I recognize Larry’s slippers immediately.

Elvis has left the building.

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